Throwback Team Thursday: 2001-2002 Detroit Red Wings
Hockey Town was at its finest in the 2001-2002 campaign, with lofty goals of a Stanley Cup Championship or bust. The Wings dominated with arguably the best roster in NHL history, which featured what will become at least ten Hall-of-Famers. Keep in mind that NHL teams are only allowed to have 23 players on the active roster, meaning on most nights nearly 50% of the team was literally the best of all time.
Brendan Shanahan (37 goals, 38 assists), Sergei Fedorov (31 goals, 37 assists), Brett Hull (30 goals, 33 assists), Luc Robitaille (30 goals, 20 assists), Steve Yzerman, Igor Larionov, and Pavel Datsyuk led the high-powered scoring attack that racked up the 2nd most goals that season.
The teams’ two best defensemen, Niklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios, have won the James Norris Memorial Trophy (best defenseman) nine and three times respectively. When opponents managed to somehow get around these two, Dominik Hasek was right there to shut them down (keep in mind Hasek won six Veniza Trophies for the best goaltender over his career). Simply put, the three men that led the Red Wings D have collectively won 18 awards for being the best at their position.
The rest of the roster was rounded out by some of the all-time great role players, including Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom, and Jiri Fischer.
As I am sure you can imagine, the Wings demolished the competition in the regular season, finishing with a league-high 116 points (keep in mind Boston had the 2nd best record with only 101 points). Quick series wins over the helpless Canucks and Blues led to a showdown with the archrival Colorado Avalanche, the only team that could compete with the Wings.
In a heated, physical series, the Avs forced a game 7 in Detroit. With Stanley Cup dreams on the line, Detroit embarrassed Colorado, winning the game 7-0.
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After all of that momentum, the Wings made light work of the Hurricanes, winning the Stanley Cup in five games.
Ten Hall-of-Famers on one roster; that will never happen again.
(Edited after first comment)